As it has for generations, the Bethel College Concert Choir fosters a deep sense of connectedness among singers and audiences through excellent performances of choral music.
Today, the Bethel College Concert Choir represents the college through a vigorous concert schedule that includes campus performances, concerts in local venues and an annual multi-state tour. Keeping with a tradition established in 1978, the Bethel College Concert Choir also tours internationally and has sung concerts in Canada, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Bosnia, France, Belgium, Sweden and Norway, with television performances in Bosnia and Poland.
The Bethel College Concert Choir has been lauded for its musical excellence. In 2010, the choir received an Emmy for the choral soundtrack of the movie documentary Through the Desert Goes Our Journey. Locally, the choir has been featured in performances at the Kansas Music Educators annual convention and with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. The choir’s most recent collaboration with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra was a May 2013 performance of Beethoven’s Mass in C with WSO music director and Bethel College alumnus Daniel Hege. During annual tours, the choir has accepted invitations to sing in the Berliner Dom, Stockholm Cathedral, the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, Cincinnati, the Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis, and New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Each spring, the Concert Choir joins with all collegiate singers, members of the Newton community and the Bethel College Oratorio Orchestra in a Choral Masterworks Concert.
Recent Masterworks Concert works include:
- Orff’s Carmina Burana
- Mendelssohn’s Elijah
- Haydn’s Harmoniemesse
- Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem
- Mozart’s Requiem
- Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms
- Poulenc’s Gloria, Brahms’ German Requiem
- Bach’s Magnificat and Verdi’s Requiem
Recent choral works performed include:
- When David wept — Eric Whitacre
- Gloria — Cesar Carrillo
- Three Songs of Faith — Eric Whitacre
- I will wade out
- Hope, faith, life, love
- I thank you God for most this amazing day
- Deep River arr. Moses Hogan
- Die Stimme des Kindes — Jakko Mäntyjärvi
- Filled with His Voice — Steve Danyew — commissioned work
- Cells Planets arr. Vince Peterson
- Christus est natus — Jicí Teml
- Christus est natus — Damijan
- Mocnik The Rune of Hospitality — Alf Houkom
- Amazing Grace arr. Norman Luboff
2020 Spring Break Tour, March 21-29
- Saturday, March 21 – Plymouth Congregational Church, Lawrence, Kan., 3 p.m.
- Sunday, March 22 – Rainbow Mennonite Church, Kansas City, Kan., 9:30 a.m.
- Sunday, March 22 – Union Station, Kansas City, Mo., 2 p.m.
- Monday, March 23 – Mennonite Church of Normal (Ill.), 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, March 24 – Silverwood Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind., 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, March 25 – St. John Cantius Church, Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, March 26 – West Union Mennonite Church, Parnell, Iowa, 7 p.m.
- Friday, March 27 – Des Moines Mennonite Church, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, March 28 - St. Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha, Neb., 11 a.m.
- Sunday, March 29 – Beatrice (Neb.) Mennonite Church, 9:30 a.m.
- Sunday, March 29 – Home Concert, Memorial Hall, 7 p.m.
Concert Choir History
The Bethel College Concert Choir has been the core of the music department since Walter Hohmann founded the ensemble in 1932 as the Bethel College A Cappella Choir. Though oratorio choruses, glee clubs and other music organizations had been active since the 1890s, Hohmann’s A Cappella Choir was distinct from its predecessors. The choir traveled out-of-state to perform and generally sang unaccompanied sacred repertoire from memory. The choir’s first extended concert tour was a six-week tour through the western United States and Canada in the summer of 1935.
Renamed the Mennonite Singers in the 1950s, the choir toured Europe for the first time in the summer of 1952 and again in 1955 and 1958, traveling by boat each time. During this decade, recordings of the Mennonite Singers were broadcast on a weekly radio program out of Wichita.
James Bixel succeeded Hohmann in 1958–59, Gordon Corwin in 1959–60, and Walter Jost in fall 1960. The choir continued as a mixed touring ensemble of 40–60 members, though Bixel changed the name from the Mennonite Singers to the Bethel College Choir. Marles Preheim joined the Bethel College music faculty in the fall of 1977 and alternated leadership of the College Choir with Jost nearly every year until Jost’s retirement in 1992. Preheim changed the name of the Bethel College Choir to the Bethel College Concert Choir in the early 1980s. William Eash succeeded Preheim as director in 1999. As it has for generations, the Bethel College Concert Choir fosters a deep sense of connectedness among singers and audiences through excellent performances of choral music.
Today the Bethel College Concert Choir represents the college through its extensive and vigorous concert schedule, which includes campus performances, concerts in local venues and its annual multi-state tour. Keeping with the tradition established in 1978, the choir tours internationally and has sung concerts in Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Bosnia, France, Belgium, Sweden and Norway and has been featured on television in Bosnia and Poland.
In 2010, the Concert Choir received an Emmy for their soundtrack on the movie documentary, Through the Desert Goes Our Journey. In addition, the Bethel College Concert Choir has been featured in performances at the Kansas Music Educators annual convention and the choir serves as guest performers with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. The choir’s most recent collaboration included a 2010 performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2
Resurrection with WSO music director and Bethel College graduate Daniel Hege. They are on the schedule to sing Carmina Burana with the WSO in November 2012.
As a result of its choral excellence, the choir has accepted invitations to sing in the Berliner Dome, Stockholm Cathedral, St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, Cincinnati, the Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis, and New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Each spring, the Concert Choir joins with all collegiate singers, members of the Newton Community Chorus and the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra in the performance of choral masterworks.